Last Minute Vertical Video

Recently while setting up a series of recipe videos, the client asked if it would be possible to shoot a vertical format, in addition to the square and 16X9 formats we were already shooting that day. They had been playing with the idea of full screen vertical videos for mobile, and only mentioned it the morning of our shoot. At first this felt like an eleventh hour scope change that didn't make sense, and probably wasn't possible with the time and resources we had planed for this project. With a little adjustment though, we were able to figure out a workflow that allowed us to shoot for all three formats, and preserve our original schedule.


The saving grace here, was that were were already planning a majority of the visuals to be top-down, countertop shots. When the vertical request first came to me I pictured a video where the talent's hands came in from the bottom of the mobile phone screen, and the ingredients, kitchen utensils, and product packaging were all laid out vertically from there. That was not going to work with our original plan, because we were already framing for the ingredients to be visible in a 16X9 AND square format too, and we didn't have time in the day, or enough recipe ingredients to re-set and shoot the vertical version separately. But, what if we turned the original 16X9 video on it's side in the edit?

Because we're shooting top down, it's not disorienting to rotate the video. The hands would come in from the side of the screen, and we could just re-use what we were already shooting.


The only resetting we needed to do was staging the opening ingredient shot so that the packaging was facing the right way for a vertical format. I did this by simply turning the packaging 90º after we got the wide shot. Everything else in the shot stays the same.


The other component to these videos was a hero shot of the finished and styled food. With minimal time to reset and some ice cream recipes that quickly die on a countertop, the best solution was to dutch the camera for vertical duplicates of the shots that we already had on the schedule.

This workflow allowed us to shoot three recipes, with two different packages each (we were creating content for two geographical markets with unique packaging), in three different formats (wide, square, and vertical), for a total of 18 different videos, in a single day. Normally you would want to plan ahead before adding an extra format to your already ambitious schedule, but for this project, we found a way to make it happen.

Vertical video is becoming more popular on social media and depending on the platform, it may actually perform better than square or wide formats. If you're planning social media video content consider a workflow that allows you to create a vertical version, and be sure to consider it at least a few days before you hit record :)